If I did a TED Talk.

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If invited to do a TED Talk, I’m sure it would be about branding. In an age where 70% of college educated kids start sentences off with “Me and Jessica are…”, where athletes refer to themselves as brands, entertainment shows dumb down baby and couple names into syllables, and Twitter handles are more globally recognized than Hollywood names, the person-as-brand is not too far-fetched.

Well, I’m not going there. I’m a purist. I am still debating whether a service can be a brand. Or a company. My brands are consumables. So shoot me.

Now Branding, brand with a ding on the end, that I can talk about. How to create a brand in the minds of consumers.  It is an act. A pursuit. And pursuits need plans. Branding is “an organizing principle, anchored to an idea.” Everything starts with the product. Then the product features and benefits. Wash those with consumer care-abouts – the most important first. Then combine what the product does well with the most compelling needs of the consumer and create a claim and proof of claim array (4 things). These are the things that drive perception and memory. Branding is not a song. But a tune may contribute. It’s not a color but may be a feeling.

The longer the “what is a brand debate goes on” the more brand planners will be in business. And the more TED Talks there will be on the subject.  Brands may be misunderstood but making them doesn’t have to be.

Is North Korea a brand? They follow an organizing principle. Hmmm.